I hope you are enjoying hearing about terrific curriculum resources as much as I am enjoying sharing them. It's a win-win! I learn about how to write an inspirational and informative nonfiction picture book, and you have a chance to win one! Today's selection, Dorothea's Eyes (Calkins Creek, 2016) features iconic photographer, Dorothea Lange, and is written by talented author, Barb Rosenstock with period-perfect illustrations by Gérard DuBois. In the text and illustrations, see if you notice something a little bit different about how this biography is written. (Note: The quotations in red are the way they appear in the book--that's not the answer!)
After her parents split up, her mother finds a job in a city library and Dorothea attends a school full of poor immigrants. She is Different and Lonely.
spies into crowded tenements where fathers, home from peddling, read newspapers, and mothers wash dishes, clothes, and babies in rusty sinks--happy and sad mixed together.
Dorothea pretends she's invisible all the time.
Am I using my eyes and my heart?
One day during the Depression she looks outside her window and sees men searching for work. She focuses on one man in particular:
Dorothea's heart won't let her stop.
Dorothy Lange Collection
Oakland Museum of California
https://artmuseum.princeton.edu/collections/objects/135245Dorothea leaves her comfortable life and takes her camera on the road. She scans dirt lanes, peers down back paths, and squints up broken steps. Fathers stoop in fields, working for pennies. Mothers nurse sick children, lying thirsty in makeshift tents. Whole families in jalopies--blown out by the dust storms wracking the land.
Dorothea doesn't just photograph the people she meets. She understands how ashamed and invisible they feel. For five years despite a leg that always hurts, she photographs people for the world to see. "The jobless. The hungry. The homeless."
Newspapers and magazines publish these pictures. Dorothea's eyes won't let the country look away. Her photographs help convince the government to provide parents with work, children with food, and families with safe, clean homes.
The truth, seen with love, becomes Dorothea's art.
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